Christmas comes early for this dog sport superstar

Tyne and Wear has a new star athlete on its hands - in the form of a three year old Pug called Niko.
Niko, owned by Karen White of South Shields, secured himself an early Christmas present recently as he jumped, ran and weaved his way to victory to qualify for a Kennel Club Bronze Agility Warrant, making him only the second Pug ever to have achieved this award.

Agility Warrant scheme

The Agility Warrant scheme rewards consistency in agility dogs - dogs that take part in the UK's fastest-growing dog sport, in which dogs compete against the clock to complete an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, and A-frames to gain points. The sport keeps the dogs fit and healthy and for a Pug like Niko, is a fast and fun way of getting his recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Niko's hard work and enthusiasm has paid off after he gained enough points to qualify for the bronze award at the Hare and Hounds Christmas show at Richmond Equestrian Centre, North Yorkshire at the end of November.     
Proud owner Karen, who also shows Niko at pedigree dog shows, said: "Niko absolutely loves the fast and furious nature of agility, whether it's at a competition or just training, and he gets so excited he squeals before going over the first jump.
"He has already qualified for and competed at Crufts through showing and our ambition is to qualify though an agility class as well. Agility is a fun way to keep us both fit and healthy and Niko's enthusiasm definitely keeps the spectators entertained!"

Kennel Club Assured Breeder 

Niko's breeder, Gwen Oake of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, puts his love for agility down to the good breeding practices that ensure he is healthy and has bundles of energy for his favourite activity. She said: "By adhering to responsible breeding practices like those set out by the Assured Breeder Scheme, we ensure that all of our dogs - Niko included - are fit for function and can lead full, healthy and happy lives.
"A responsibly bred Pug can do so much more than the common misconceptions of the breed lead people to think."
Whilst Border Collies are generally the most common breed seen in agility, Niko plans to continue giving them a run for their money as he works his way towards a silver and gold award. To find out more about the good breeding practices that help create healthy, happy dogs like Niko, please visit

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